Among Gregory’s extensive line-up of day packs sit two packs prepped (and pepped) for full-day adventures—the Jade 28 for Women and Zulu 30 for Men. We expected good things from the Jade and Zulu packs after our experience with Gregory’s Targhee 32 Ski Touring Pack—a favourite among our team here at Backcountry Skiing Canada for it’s fit and efficiency. With their straight-up design and clean fit, both the Jade and Zulu day packs are ideal for summer hiking and outdoor adventures but if you need more room they are also available in a 33 and 38L versions for her and a 35 and 40L for him.
Gregory's Jade 28 Day Pack in action on a local hike testing out its fit and various features.
Both the Jade 28 and Zulu 30 were developed using Gregory’s tried and true design approach that they have been utilizing for over 40 years. All of Gregory’s prototypes are hand-crafted at their head office in Salt Lake City, Utah then tested and developed in their backyard – the Wasatch mountains. The company focuses solely on packs and bags, boasts a genuine love of the mountains and prides themselves on getting out and using the gear that they develop.
The Jade and Zulu packs are cut to the same uncomplicated design with the geometry and details adjusted to fit the anatomy of a female (Jade) or male (Zulu) hiker. In the Jade the hip belt is angled to fit the size/shape of women’s hip bones and the die cut shoulder harness is shaped to wrap smoothly around their shoulders and bust. The other differences between the two packs are their torso length, colour and a volume with the men’s being larger by two litres.
The fluid and adaptable carry system uses Gregory’s FreeFloat ventilated suspension system and features a padded but streamlined hip belt that cradles the hips and syncs with other flexible panels designed to move as you do. The perimeter of the pack is kept rigid with an alloy frame and fibreglass cross-stay for stable load-carrying up to 16kg / 35lbs. A 210D Honeycomb Cryptorip HD Nylon material is patterned with 210D High Tenacity Nylon to form the pack body with a 420D High-Density Nylon and 135D High-Density Polyester combined to reinforce the high abrasion are on the bottom of the packs.
The torso length can be easily adjusted up to an ample 4 inches to easily accommodate the torso of taller women.
A Sunglass Quickstow system is a quick and scratch-free way to stash your shades when you move into the woods or the cloud cover builds. The sternum strap also features an integrated safety whistle and hydration hose clip.
The Jade 28 and Zulu 30 are top loading packs with a very generous and easy-to-grip U-zip opening that offers plenty of access to the main compartment. An internal zippered security pocket with key clip can be found under the lid.
Gregory has kept the main compartment of the packs simple with plenty of options for easy gear stash on the outside, including:
The main compartment features a hydration sleeve with a hanger that is specifically compatible with Gregory’s 3D Hydro reservoir. The reservoir is not included with the pack but can be purchased for an additional $40. It’s a rigid reservoir design which is easier to fill and dry than traditional soft reservoirs. The bite valve is magnetic and attaches to the sternum strap of the pack, it also has a lock on the valve to ensure it’s leak free during storage or transportation.
External Material - 100% Nylon
Frame Materials - 4mm Alloy Steel & Fiberglass anti-barreling stay & HDPE
Pack Body - 210D Honeycomb Cryptorip HD Nylon / 210D High Tenacity Nylon
Pack Bottom - 420D High Density Nylon / 135D High Density Polyester
Lining - 135D High Density Embossed Polyester
Suspension - Dual-density LifeSpan EVA Foam
Over the course of my testing, I found the Jade 28 conforms with Gregory’s simple design philosophy and their attention to comfort, detail and ease of use was obvious. The pack is well crafted with careful integration of durable, lightweight and stretchy materials offering plenty of well-designed exterior compartments without being over fussy or cluttered. I personally love the way the main compartment with its generous top opening is kept simple with the majority of the gear organization options available on the outside of the pack for quick, easy access which means less stopping on the trail. The carry system is very comfortable and feels light on the back and ventilates well. As you hike the pack moves with you and keeps the load close to your body completing what is a superior fit. Being able to customize the fit through the adjustable torso length provided me with the ability to precisely personalize the fit, which is a must in my books. In comparison to other packs, I noticed that Gregory offers a greater range of adjustment which I definitely needed to accommodate my long torso. The included rain cover is well hidden yet super handy.
The magnetic hydration valve clip is a great way to keep the hydration hose tidy with the bonus that it can be moved to other straps or removed altogether. If you want to use the interior hydration hanger you have to buy Gregory’s 3D Hydro reservoir for seamless integration. Aa a $40 add-on the reservoir is a deal as its riding design is ideal for filling, handling and drying.
If the larger sizes of the Jade and Zulu are not enough space for your next adventure then have a read of our review of Gregory’s Palisade Pack to get an insight into how Gregory's larger packs perform.
Price: $179.95CAN / $149.95US
Sizes: Jade 28 - XS/S, S/M; Zulu 30 - S/M, M/L
Volume: Jade 28 - 1.16kg 2.55lbs; Zulu 30 - 1.19kg / 2.62lbs
Weight: Jade 28 - 26L / 1587cu in; Zulu 30 - 1.21kg / 2.67lbs
Max Carry Weight: 16kg / 35lbs
Colours: Jade 28 - Poppy Red, Ethereal Grey, Mayan Teal; Zulu 30 - Mantis Green, Empire Blue, Fiery Red
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. You'll need to login or register before you can comment but it only takes a few seconds, then you're good to go.
We built this backcountry skiing community for you, the passionate skier, and hope you enjoy the hard work we put into all the reviews, routes, videos, and posts we create. It’s been free from day one but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable resource. If you enjoy this website and value the content we create for you, then please support Backcountry Skiing Canada by donating today or by clicking on those sponsor ads and 'Buy Now' links at the bottom of the reviews. Thank you!